FDNY's Phoenix Society aims to promote fire prevention in Chinatown in wake of 2 devastating fires

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Friday, May 6, 2022
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Two fires that happened just blocks from each other delivered a devastating blow to the Chinatown community. Crystal Cranmore has more.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Just two weeks before a five-alarm fire ripped through a Chinatown business on Chatham Square injuring several firefighters and displacing residents, another fast-moving fire killed a mother and son in in a Mulberry Street apartment building on April 15.

Investigators say the cause of the fire was electrical and turned to social media to remind people not to overload extension cords.

"Both fires were heartbreaking," said Ben Chou, Phoenix Society.

Two fires that happened just blocks from each other delivered a devastating blow to the Chinatown community.

"Along with responding to emergencies we also want to prevent emergencies," Chou said.

The FDNY's Phoenix Society is ramping up efforts to educate residents on fire safety this week.

They hosted an informational event at the Chinese Community Center in partnership with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

The Phoenix Society is dedicated to bridging the cultural gap between the fire department and the city's Asian residents.

"This is for our community. I feel in our community there might be a lot of elders that might have apartments in such a way, running extended cords that could cause a fire, things that are easily preventable," said Raymond Tsang, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

"Electrical fires are one of the major causes of fires in New York City," Chou said.

Fire officials say the residents who died in the Mulberry Street apartment fire were trapped in their own home which was filled with clutter.

"It's important to have two means of escape in your home," said Tony Chuy, a Chinatown resident.

Chuy says the recent tragedies serve as a reminder to have a plan.

"I think it affected a lot of people. I think it's a good idea to give everyone a good lesson to prevent fire in the house," Chuy said.

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